Pitt doesn’t fit into Barbour’s plan

Penn State will not be playing Pitt every year once the current series ends in 2019, athletic director Sandy Barbour said.

The Nittany Lions and Panthers will not play from 2020 through at least 2025 because PSU’s non-conference schedule already includes one Power 5 opponent for each of those seasons. Exactly when the teams will play again after 2019 remains unknown because PSU has other scheduling priorities.

“We’ve got some thoughts around other regional opponents,” Barbour said, “as well as a major intersectional home and home — once every six years, once every eight years. So, playing Pitt every year doesn’t fit that.”

Pressure on Chambers?

Barbour was asked if there will be pressure on men’s basketball coach Patrick Chambers next season, which will be his seventh at PSU. Chambers has yet to guide the program to an NCAA or NIT tournament, but Barbour stopped short of saying the program must achieve a specific goal this season.

“I’m not putting any more pressure on Pat Chambers than he is on himself,” she said.

There is, the AD added, some pressure for the program to take the next step.

“Absolutely,” Barbour said. “And Pat Chambers will be at the top of that list for saying that’s the goal, that’s where we need to be. … I believe we’re making progress. But it’s not a 10-year plan. The time frame’s a little shorter than that.”

News and notes

n Negative recruiting against PSU because of the sanctions became an issue last summer, but Barbour said that hasn’t been the case lately. “The issue for me was around a false narrative around NCAA sanctions, continued, additional, etc. That was just a flat out lie,” she said. “I don’t know that it’s our success that has quieted that down. I assumed it played some role. But it’s more that the NCAA and the Big Ten have been supportive, and there’s not a lot of chatter supporting the sanctions’ implications. That’s in our rearview mirror.”

n Virginia was scheduled to play at Beaver Stadium in 2013 but decided to back out of that game, so it still owes PSU a visit at some point. “It’s still floating out there. We’re trying to find a good place for it,” Barbour said.

n Asked about expectations for the women’s basketball program, Barbour said, “We had two really, really difficult years. This was a little bit of a bounce back. But the NIT is not the goal for Penn State. So the NCAA is the next step, to get back in it and start making noise like we had been.”

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